Press Release
March 16, 2020

Statement of Senator Risa Hontiveros on the Luzon-wide 'Enhanced Community Quarantine'

Dapat lahat ligtas. The President's directive for an 'enhanced community quarantine' in Luzon to contain the transmission of COVID-19 should be implemented as a public health measure that takes into account the welfare of the most vulnerable.

In its implementation, I urge the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to disseminate clear and coherent information that could effectively guide the public throughout the duration of this lockdown. Towards the end of this period, the guidelines should be clear on the de-escalation of quarantine and the eventual lifting of the public health emergency.

The respect and protection of the rights of Filipinos should never be compromised. All directives of the government should still operate within the framework of public health emergencies, as described under Republic Act 11332.

At this extraordinary time, I urge the national and local governments to ensure that safety nets to immediately provide proper social protection and assistance to the public be cast: cash assistance and loans in all forms to those who will lose livelihood and income; delivery of goods and services especially to the most vulnerable; reliable and uninterrupted service delivery of basic utilities such as water, electricity, and the internet; and heightened visibility and capacity for health workers. While we prepare for the imminent total lockdown, the government should give time for reasonable movement in order for households to access and avail of essential goods for their families. Hindi pwedeng biglaan at walang direksyon itong ipatutupad. The government should ensure transportation service and "safe passage" for the public. Ayusin natin ang mobility ng mga tao para hindi magulo ang paghanda nating lahat sa lockdown.

Dapat sinisigurado narin natin ang kapasidad at kahandaan ng mga lokal na komuninad na tumugon sa mga health emergencies, COVID-19 man ito o hindi. Habang tumatagal ang lockdown, mas hahaba din ang paghihirap ng bawat Pilipino.

Let's make use of this time wisely. The people need clarity and assurance. We need to assure them that we care for them, starting with those who have the least.

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